Novel cremochylomicrons for improved oral bioavailability of the antineoplastic phytomedicine berberine chloride: Optimization and pharmacokinetics

Int J Pharm. 2018 Jan 15;535(1-2):316-324. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2017.11.023. Epub 2017 Nov 11.


Berberine chloride (BER) is an antineoplastic phytomedicine that combat non-Hodgkin lymphoma. BER suffers from low oral bioavailability due to p-glycoprotein efflux and first-pass metabolism. Lymphatic drug targeting recently gained a profound attention due to circumventing hepatic first-pass metabolism and targeting lymph diseases. Therefore, novel BER-loaded cremochylomicrons were elaborated to mitigate BER drawbacks and enhance its lymphatic targeting and bioavailability. Optimized cremochylomicron was prepared with 2.5%w/v Cremophor El and 12.5% w/w berberine content. Promising in vitro characteristics (particle size = 175.6 nm and entrapment efficiency = 95.5%) were obtained. Lyophilized system showed high colloidal stability over 6 months. In addition in vivo pharmacokinetics study demonstrated significant enhancement (>2fold) in the rate and extent of absorption in cremochylomicron over free BER. Moreover, cremochylomicrons demonstrated in significant increase in mean residence time and volume of distribution with decreased intestinal drug clearance as a result of efflux inhibition. In another avenue, a significant reduction in BER absorption (43%) in presence of cycloheximide inhibitor was obtained confirming the lymphatic targeting ability of cremochylomicrons. In conclusion, berberine-loaded cremochylomicron could be considered as a promising nanoplatform for targeting lymphatic system and improving BER oral bioavailability with lower dose and side effects.

Keywords: Berberine chloride (BER); Chylomicron (CM); Cremophor El; Cycloheximide (CHX); Lymphatic targeting.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / blood
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacokinetics
  • Berberine / administration & dosage*
  • Berberine / blood
  • Berberine / chemistry
  • Berberine / pharmacokinetics
  • Biological Availability
  • Lipoproteins / administration & dosage*
  • Lipoproteins / chemistry
  • Lipoproteins / pharmacokinetics
  • Male
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Surface-Active Agents / administration & dosage
  • Surface-Active Agents / chemistry
  • Surface-Active Agents / pharmacokinetics


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Lipoproteins
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Berberine